THE WARTIME Slovak Republic, an ally of Nazi Germany, is commemorated every year on March 14 – mostly by extremist groups of nationalists. During this year’s For Independent Slovakia march, extremists did not clash with the anti-fascist blockade thanks to police intervention.
In previous years there were some violent clashes, but this year, marking the 76th anniversary of the establishment of the Slovak state, the extremists did not meet the anti-Fascist activists on the SNP Square, as the police diverted the nationalists to a different location. They detained seven people from both sides, the Sme daily wrote, with the TASR newswire identifying one of them as leftist activist Robert Mihaly. After the extremists were re-routed, activists tried to block their march again but police stopped them.
The Saturday march in Bratislava was joined by some 200 admirers of the wartime Slovak state who headed to the tomb of its – sentenced to death and executed – head Jozef Tiso. About the same number of activists came, and this group included also ex-president Rudolf Schuster, neurologist Pavel Traubner and ex-mayor of Bratislava Milan Ftáčnik; they were among the activists who tried to block the march.
One of the participants claimed for the Denník N daily that police checked on the identity of the activists, recording also “special marks”, like dreadlocks.
The organisers of the march claim they want to celebrate the establishment of an independent Slovakia in 1939, express their discontent with what they described as “Brussels dictatorship”, and call for a return of Slovakia’s sovereignty and independence.
The counter-protest was convened by the “Bratislava without Nazis Initiative”, with around 30 high-profile personalities supporting it with a statement entitled “Together Against Hate”, TASR wrote. They view the setting up of the wartime Slovak Republic “one of the most tragic moments in Slovakia’s history”, claiming that some Slovak citizens were deprived of their rights and suffered repression and sometimes death.